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AP Psych Name: ________________________

A. Beck 19 March 2019


Case Study Lab – Anxiety Disorders
Instructions: With a highlighter identify the important symptoms in each case. Refer to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for each anxiety disorder. In the
space provided, provide an appropriate diagnosis, adding any notes you deem necessary.

Case Study 1: Amy, age 38, is a worrier. She is restless, irritable and has difficulty concentrating. She worries that she worries so much and
isn’t always sure what it is that she is worried about. She can’t let her husband or children leave the house without making them call her
regularly to reassure her that they are ok. Her husband is growing weary of her fretting. Her children can’t understand what all the fuss is
about. Their impatience with her only makes her worry more.
DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 2: Hannah, age 55, was in a major car accident 20 years ago during a cross country trip. Ever since, she has been unable to
drive on major highways. Although she does drive, she goes to great lengths to travel only on back roads and scenic routes. She is able to
go where she wants but it often takes her much longer to get there than it should.
DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 3: Bert is 40 years old and works on an assembly line in a brush factory. He is terribly afraid of being contaminated by germs.
He avoids shaking hands with others. He won’t eat in the cafeteria. He has trouble leaving the bathroom because he isn’t sure he has
washed his hands well enough.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 4: Joanne, age 32, is involved with the first man that really counts in her life. As the couple has become more intimate, Joanne
has started to have flashbacks about an uncle who touched her sexually when she was only eight years old. She is distressed to find out that
she is shutting down feelings about her boyfriend and distancing herself from him. Although she has been sexual with other men, she says
she can’t stand to let herself be sexual with someone she loves and trusts. She startles easily and reports a general increase in anxiety. She
is very angry that she has to deal with the feelings about the incidents with her uncle that happened so long ago. She says that she thought
she had gotten beyond all that.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 5: A 28-year-old woman is a rising junior executive in her investment company. Her increasing duties require her to make
periodic formal presentations to the senior management of the company. However, she becomes intensely anxious at the thought of
speaking in public. When she is forced to give a presentation, she begins to feel anxious days in advance of the talk and the anxiety
increases as the time for the talk approaches. She is concerned that her anxiety will become noticeable during the talk or that she will do
something to embarrass herself.
DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 6: A 28-year-old woman was walking through her local shopping mall when she began to feel intensely anxious. The anxiety was
accompanied by sensations of choking, smothering, and a sudden sense that the people and stores around her were unreal. She began to fear
that she was going crazy and the more she worried about this the more anxious she became. A guard, seeing that she was in distress, brought
her to the mall office where she was able to lie down. A few minutes later the symptoms began to subside. She went home after leaving the mall
but she did not tell her husband what happened. A week later she had a similar attack while she was walking down the street. She was able to
reach her house where she lay down until the attack ended. In the following three weeks she had two or more attacks. Between attacks she was
constantly worried about having another attack. The patient was finally forced to tell her husband about the problem because she was so fearful
of not being able to get help if an attack occurred that she would not leave her house alone or travel on public transportation.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:


Case Study 7: A 35-year-old clothing salesman was showing a particularly fussy customer a suit 2 months ago and suddenly began to sweat
profusely. His heart started to pound, he felt dizzy, and became fearful that he was about to die. The customer didn’t notice his condition and
continued to question him about the suit in minute detail. The patient, feeling faint, abruptly left the customer and went to lie down in the
back of the store. The customer became insulted, complained to the manager, and left. When the manager found the patient he was
slumped in a chair in the back room trembling. Approximately 10 minutes later the patient’s symptoms began to subside. He saw his
physician the next day who found no evidence of any medical problems. Two weeks later, he had another similar unexpected attack. Since
that time he has worried continuously about having another attack. His friends and colleagues have noticed that he is no longer as
spontaneous and outgoing as he had been in the past.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 8: A 26 year old man is very concerned about cleanliness and hygiene. He spends a significant amount of time each day
washing his hands or showering, especially after touch a toilet seat, doorknob, or any other item he thinks may be dirty or contaminated. The
patient explains that he is concerned about becoming infected or sick from touching these objects. He periodically acknowledges that the
washing is excessive but explains that he becomes very anxious when he tries to avoid washing and eventually feels compelled to wash
even more to make up for the omission.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 9: A 27-year-old, athletic young man has an intense fear of needles. He tries to rationalize his fear by explaining that he is just
being cautious and protecting himself from acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome (AIDS). He realizes that his fear is irrational but is
unable to control it. The patient has fainted twice in the past when his blood was drawn during a physical examination; he becomes
extremely anxious at the sight of a needle and worries for days before an appointment with his physician or dentist.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 10: A 36-year-old man and his young son were driving through an intersection when another car ran through a red traffic light
and struck them. The two were trapped in the car until a fire department rescue team freed them. The patient was bruised but not seriously
hurt. His son had a broken leg. The first few days after the accident the patient was preoccupied with arranging care for his son and getting
the car repaired. A few days later he began having recurrent distressing thoughts and images of the accident. These symptoms lasted for
several weeks. The memory of his son’s screams after the car was struck seemed particularly vivid. The patient became irritable, had
difficulty concentrating, and avoided talking about the accident. He went out of his way to avoid driving down the street where the accident
occurred. As time went on he could no longer remember whether the traffic light was red or green when he approached it.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

Case Study 11: A 38-year-old man has been increasingly anxious about his job in a large manufacturing company. He feels that he has
been passed over for a promotion several times. The patient is preoccupied with many small events and conversations that have occurred at
work during the year and worries how his superiors will interpret them. He finds it difficult to control his worrying. During the day at work he
feels restless and edgy. At home he is irritable and has difficulty sleeping. He wife asks him about work but he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DIAGNOSIS: _______________________________ NOTES ON DIAGNOSIS:

AP Psych Name: ________________________


A. Beck 19 March 2019

Case Study Lab

Directions: Below are a list of very overly-simplified ‘case studies’ for instructional use.
Please note a mental health professional would rarely get information as simplistic and
obvious as these. Do your best to diagnose the disorders each patient is suffering from.

1. Ken is plagued by constant worries that what he has planned will not occur as
scheduled. He makes hundreds of to-do lists each day and often checks these lists to
make sure they are correct. Ken incessantly reminds his colleagues of upcoming
deadlines, sometimes 15 or 20 times each day.

2. One day, Karl, a native of Hawaii, wakes up in Nebraska, with no memory of who he
is, how he got there, or from where he came.

3. Julio believes he is an alien who has been left behind on Earth by his “pod.” He is
often difficult to understand, because he speaks frequently in rhyme and makes up
his own words.

4. Brian appears to be a mild-mannered 20-something, but he sometimes believes he is


a teenage female named “Suzy” who is a member of a high school dance team. At
these times, he dresses in various matching outfits, carries pom-poms, and practices
various dance routines. Brian is confused about why he sometimes awakens dressed
in strange clothing.

5. Driving back from a concert, Gerri fell asleep at the wheel and crashed her Jaguar
convertible. Her best friend perished in the crash. Ever since, although doctors can
find nothing physically wrong, Gerri has been paralyzed in the arm with which she
was steering.

6. Keshona is terrified of speaking in public. Although highly knowledgeable and


competent, whenever she has to address a gathering of adults, her heart pounds,
and her mouth gets dry.

7. Tuan has been arrested on numerous occasions for disturbing the peace and for
illegally producing and selling alcohol and drugs to minors. Although a number of his
clients have died from overdoses, he feels no remorse.

8. While she was on a visit to the Midwest, Samantha’s residence was demolished by a
tornado. Ever since, she has been plagued by terrible nightmares and occasional
flashbacks.

9. Don goes through periods when he feels he just can’t lose. He goes on gambling
sprees, launches new get-rich-quick schemes, and engages in promiscuous behavior.
At other times, he feels so down that he can’t even get out of bed. Life seems
purposeless.

10. No matter what he is doing, Ikimba always feels a little tense. The apprehension has
no apparent cause. Even during weekends and vacations, he experiences constant
uneasiness.